All Stories, Fantasy

The Apple by Simon Berling

One day many years from now.  Or wait..  Maybe it was many years ago?  I guess it doesn’t very much matter.

Well, One day, a small creature not so old, yet also not so very young, its mottled furs pointing this way and that, its feet opened and sore, its body shivering, weak from its life’s long toils, cold from the inclement elements, but most of all hungry; so very hungry, hungry from days-

(Or was it years?  Perhaps. That too does not much matter now.)

– without nourishment, came upon a beautiful tree.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Hana by Mariam Saidan

I’m baking a cake, a well-mixed paste of carefully measured amounts of flour, eggs, oil, sugar, banana, baking powder and a pinch of cinnamon, ready to go in the oven for 45 minutes, when she knocks on the door. I think of taking my apron off, but I decide not to. It’s cute, with birds frolicking in a pink world. I look like an unusually traditional woman for our time, I feel. A woman. A kitchen. An apron. A cake. Pink. But I feel something perverse, almost noble, in quietly subverting these clichés still viciously clinging to these symbols. 

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

In For a Penny, In For a Pound by David Thomas Peacock

You find meaning where you make it, I thought, polishing off my second bourbon and getting up to leave. I’d stopped by Puffy’s after an early piano gig, hoping to take the edge off before heading home. I couldn’t stop thinking about the old man —always worrying about him, continually reframing the narrative in my mind. I’m grateful for the time I have left with him was the best I could come up with.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Cohort Retirees by Tom Sheehan

Each Raytheon retiree’s email, each contact with an old co-worker, though distant, departed, an accidental approach, brings me back to places, offices, plant sections and locations, that I left in my past and where I find those that never let go, holding on with clever clutches; some of my favorite people ever climb back into my present circumstance, letting me know they do not let go, not easily, not knowingly, not without a sidewise look I can remember as if it was sent my way yesterday.

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All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller

One Treacherous Evening by Claire Deans

She shrieks, and the noise echoes through the vast space and up towards the high, glass roof. She is half running, half tottering through Glasgow Central Station wearing a pair of siren blue stilettos. They clatter. A huddle of lads, all pastel shirted up for a night in the town, look over and stare. She throws her arms around me as if it’s a feckin lover’s reunion. ‘Bernadette. Oh My God,’ she squeals. ‘You haven’t changed a bit.’ 

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All Stories, General Fiction

Sofa Surfing by Tim Frank

When Jeff built a water slide on the stairs of his friend Andy’s house, he knew he’d crossed a line and he couldn’t go back. He had been sofa surfing for months, alienating all his friends and now Andy would surely turn against him too. So, Jeff decided to go all out.

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All Stories, General Fiction

Why Junie Jumped by Townsend Walker

I’ll tell you why she jumped. That bastard husband of hers couldn’t keep his pants zipped. She put up with it, for the kids. But then, he was the one who split. She and me were best friends in high school. I stayed here in Lynchburg, Central Virginia for college, now bookkeeper at the newspaper. Junie, she jumped at the chance to get out. That chance was a fast-talking UVA senior named John Miller, promised to take her to New York. He did, a dozen years and four kids later, she came back. Her family wasn’t a whole lot of help when she did. Junie told me, first words out of their mouths, Where are you going to live now? How are you going to support your children? I guess she shouldn’t have expected a cuddly reception, the way she ran off with John middle of senior year, her Ma still in the hospital. Irregardless, you’d think they’d care about their grand kids.

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All Stories, Romance

When the Tabloids Ate My Best Friend by Marco Etheridge

The morning sun assaulted every nerve ending in my shattered brain and that same vicious sun illuminated the headline that hovered before my bleary eyes: Bigfoot’s Miraculous Aqua-Baby Discovered. I tried to focus, then I tried to blink it all away. Miserable failure was the result on both counts. I did not conjure clarity, nor did the strange bedroom disappear. I was forced to ask myself that most critical question. Where the fuck was I?

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All Stories, General Fiction

It’s All in the Maul by Tom Sheehan

It was the moment of pure silence before we would set the forest on its ear with the roar of our chain saws. The deep woods that morning glistened with long tracts of snowy and scary silence, now and then broken by the creaking of a frozen limb swearing it would fall to earth. At best that fall would be a minor distortion, a minor distraction. Yet again, that creak sounded like a baby in the night, or a wailing or a keening, or, at an odder moment, like a voice given to what has no voice. At attention we stood, my friend Eddie LeBlanc and I, some twenty yards apart, some huge oaks apart, their ugly and monstrous arms clawing at early daylight.

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